Origins of Evil and Will of Man

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Greg Long's picture
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Alex Guggenheim wrote: Why is

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Why is it presumed that divine sovereignty is the "first cause" of things?

Please tell us who or what is if not God.

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Greg Long wrote: Alex

Greg Long wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Why is it presumed that divine sovereignty is the "first cause" of things?

Please tell us who or what is if not God.
My interest is not in presuming anything rather in discovering why the argument(s) which exist in the minds of others which presumes divine sovereignty to be the first cause of things (and when the expression " first cause of things " is used I understand that to mean or have in view any or all things and not just some things which if only some things were in view my question would change). So I resubmit the question with the hope that one of the "us" to whom you refer will make the case.

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Causal Necessity

I can only provide a very brief arguement on this point.

1 All things that have come into existence must have had a cause.
2. Sin came to exist.
3. Therefore sin must have had a cause.

Now, what or who was that cause? Can a cause be the cause? How can a cause cause a cause if a cause even could cause a cause? That deserves an award.

Perhaps this is enough to give James something to wrestle with.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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Alex, because it fits a

Alex, because it fits a predetermined system read onto Scripture.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Ed, sadly you never answered

Ed, sadly you never answered that question and still did not answer that question when given yet another opportunity. This is the problem with being learned in systematic theology as priority over scripture. You know the talking points but not how to actually answer.

You know very well what I have affirmed. What you accuse me of is sheer nonsense and demonstrates you are left to attacking me personally rather than answer my question.

I will further point out again to you that you are arguing for compatibilism, not calvinism. There are plenty of calvinists who would call you arminian.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Greg, Paul was not addressing

Greg, Paul was not addressing my question in Romans 9.

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I will sum up this whole

I will sum up this whole argument.

Things we all agree on:

1. God is sovereign
2. God's sovereignty includes power over all of His creation
3. God is in absolute control
4. Nothing can exist outside of God's control
5. God knows all thing, actual and possible, including every thought and desire of man
6. Sin did not thwart God
7. Sin did not call into question God's being

Things we do not all agree on:

1. How God controls all things
2. How God can be/not be the author of sin

I hope we can move past some of the childishness that is thrown around so lightly.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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James - my answer

I provided you with the answer from several perspectives and even include voluminous Scriptural examples that you did not bother to provide a legitimate alternative interpretation. I cannot help it if you are less than pleased or satisfied with my answer. But to accuse me of not answering you is patently untrue. I don't anyone could read this string and agree that I really never answered your question.

Concerning the compatibilist issue, it is tired and old.

Concerning a personal attack, I deny. However, I do apologize if that is how you really feel. There is no place in these discussions for personal attacks.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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Already answered

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Greg Long wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Why is it presumed that divine sovereignty is the "first cause" of things?

Please tell us who or what is if not God.
My interest is not in presuming anything rather in discovering why the argument(s) which exist in the minds of others which presumes divine sovereignty to be the first cause of things (and when the expression " first cause of things " is used I understand that to mean or have in view any or all things and not just some things which if only some things were in view my question would change). So I resubmit the question with the hope that one of the "us" to whom you refer will make the case.

Post #112, nobody even responded to it; it was just simply ignored. I know that this is a rather large discussion, so it was (assuming the best of people) probably just missed. God being the first or ultimate starting point for causality is a complete given if one endorses creation; I believe that no one in this thread has denied this in the least. As all things other than the eternal self-existent God are creation, then it follows that He is the first cause of all things. Please see post #112, as I don't wish to repeat the whole thing. In philosophical terms, post #112 is also a Biblical metaphysical argument against libertarian freedom, for if libertarian freedom is uncaused, then it simply does not exist in God's universe.

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Clear dodge (red herring)

James K wrote:
Ed, sadly you never answered that question and still did not answer that question when given yet another opportunity. This is the problem with being learned in systematic theology as priority over scripture. You know the talking points but not how to actually answer.

You know very well what I have affirmed. What you accuse me of is sheer nonsense and demonstrates you are left to attacking me personally rather than answer my question.

I will further point out again to you that you are arguing for compatibilism, not calvinism. There are plenty of calvinists who would call you arminian.


James, he did answer the question. Perhaps you could actually deal with the issue of Acts 4, that Ed raised, instead of dodging it.

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#4?

James K wrote:
I will sum up this whole argument.

Things we all agree on:

1. God is sovereign
2. God's sovereignty includes power over all of His creation
3. God is in absolute control
4. Nothing can exist outside of God's control
5. God knows all thing, actual and possible, including every thought and desire of man
6. Sin did not thwart God
7. Sin did not call into question God's being

Things we do not all agree on:

1. How God controls all things
2. How God can be/not be the author of sin

I hope we can move past some of the childishness that is thrown around so lightly.


Concerning #4: If you agree that nothing can exist outside of God's control, then upon what grounds can you hold to libertarian freedom. Libertarian freedom is by definition uncaused, which means that it is outside of God's control. You may counter by saying that control and cause are two different things. And I would respond that you are speaking of "existence" in which causality is a massive component. Does the will of man exist, of itself, or autonomously; or does it exist dependently in which it needs a cause for its existence? If God is that cause, then how can man will contrary to his own existence? His will cannot be otherwise than what it is, which is what God has caused it to be if you do hold to #4.

I often run into this exquisite blind spot on the part of libertarian free will advocates.

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Caleb S wrote: James K

Caleb S wrote:
James K wrote:
Ed, sadly you never answered that question and still did not answer that question when given yet another opportunity. This is the problem with being learned in systematic theology as priority over scripture. You know the talking points but not how to actually answer.

You know very well what I have affirmed. What you accuse me of is sheer nonsense and demonstrates you are left to attacking me personally rather than answer my question.

I will further point out again to you that you are arguing for compatibilism, not calvinism. There are plenty of calvinists who would call you arminian.


James, he did answer the question. Perhaps you could actually deal with the issue of Acts 4, that Ed raised, instead of dodging it.

Caleb, Acts 4 is not Gen 3. Ed did not answer anything unless your definition of answer is bringing up unrelated passages.

Let me restate yet again.

We are told by compatibilists that God is the first cause and yet NOT the author of sin. No attempt is made to reconcile this. It is just affirmed by the WCF. Usually that is all calvinists need, but I am not all that impressed with it, so I will go back to scripture for truth. I don't believe God waiting post reformation for His truth to be known.

If sin is going against God's will, then Adam sinned. Well sort of. Because in the compatibilist construct Adam was doing EXACTLY what God wanted him to do.

The compatibilist is left with the additional difficulty of explaining how sin can really even be sin now. Because in the compatibilist construct:

1. Adam was created very good.
2. Adam had 2 opposite wills to obey.
3. Adam's failure would bring death and a curse upon everyone.
4. God used uneven weights and balances, something we know God hates.

This is EXACTLY why compatibilists opt for mystery.

Now, my question is this:

How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God?

Ed, Caleb, and others, if you think you answered this question, point me to the post and I will look it up. Otherwise, stop saying you answered it in so many ways with all this scripture.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Caleb S wrote: James K

Caleb S wrote:
James K wrote:
I will sum up this whole argument.

Things we all agree on:

1. God is sovereign
2. God's sovereignty includes power over all of His creation
3. God is in absolute control
4. Nothing can exist outside of God's control
5. God knows all thing, actual and possible, including every thought and desire of man
6. Sin did not thwart God
7. Sin did not call into question God's being

Things we do not all agree on:

1. How God controls all things
2. How God can be/not be the author of sin

I hope we can move past some of the childishness that is thrown around so lightly.


Concerning #4: If you agree that nothing can exist outside of God's control, then upon what grounds can you hold to libertarian freedom. Libertarian freedom is by definition uncaused, which means that it is outside of God's control. You may counter by saying that control and cause are two different things. And I would respond that you are speaking of "existence" in which causality is a massive component. Does the will of man exist, of itself, or autonomously; or does it exist dependently in which it needs a cause for its existence? If God is that cause, then how can man will contrary to his own existence? His will cannot be otherwise than what it is, which is what God has caused it to be if you do hold to #4.

I often run into this exquisite blind spot on the part of libertarian free will advocates.

The funny thing about categories is when people don't fit in them. I have not been advocating libertarian free will. Methinks you have me confused with Jay C.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Incoherence

Here we go again with categories. Like it or not, you fit somewhere. We are either regenerate or unregenerate, right? Imagine an unregnerate person using this tactic. I am not born again nor "un" born again. I am in a different category altogether. Perhaps we could use T.D. Jakes as an example. He is not a trinitarian nor is he a non-trinitarian. I am sorry, but sooner or later, either/or will indeed press for a decision.

Notice what James did not make any assertions about in his most recent post: he made no assertions about sin or the fall. To say that God is in absolute control means that Adam's sin was absolutely controlled by God. Adam's fall was absolutely controlled by God. Satan's fall, as mysterious as it was, was in the absolute control of God.

Control: power or authority to guide or manage.

Absolute: free from imperfection.

God is perfecting controlling all that was, is, and ever shall be. Since this control is perfect, it never ceases to be anything but true, genuine control.

Libertarian freedom: the will of the human is completely free of any and all causes.

Absolute control and libertarian freedom are radically antithetical to one another.

Question: How is it that God is perfectly controlling all things that come to pass, yet somehow sin managed to enter outside of that control? By your own definition one must conclude that sin came about by the perfect control of God Himself. How He did it is not the question. That He did it cannot be denied.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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Ed, all that typing and you

Ed, all that typing and you couldn't answer the question or point me to the post where you previously did?

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Did Not Judas Do Precisely What God Willed Him to Do

You fail to make good on your indictment of compatibilists sir. You impugn us for special pleading (musterion) and yet when we point to Judas, somehow that is different. It could not be more obvious that Judas was sinning by betraying Christ and yet at the very same time in that sinful act, he was doing exactly what God had planned he would do.

If God is perfectly controlling everything as you say He is. Everything INCLUDES sin! Does it not? Answer that question, James. If God is not in perfect control of sin, then He is NOT in perfect control of everything.

I grow weary of writing term papers in answer to your charges only to have you ignore them, refuse to interact with them, reject any challenge to articulate an alternative, and then accuse me of not answering your question.

God is able to be the primary cause of sin without also being the immediate cause or author of sin. To be VERY clear, the Scripture used to support that idea that God cannot be the primary cause of sin does not assert any such thing. Exegetically, James 1:13 does not teach that God is not the primary cause of sin. What does it assert? In James 1:13 it is revealed to us that God cannot be tempted with evil. Secondly, it is revealed to us that God does not actually engage in tempting man to sin Himself. God Himself does not actually engage in the immediate act of tempting man to evil. That is far different from saying that God is not the primary cause of sin, being God, the primary cause of all that has come to be. So we can safely say that God is not the tempter in the case of sin. The real issue James is getting at is a view that may move toward a fatalistic attitude toward the nomos. Hence, a kind of antinomianism seems clearly to emerge in James. James 1:13 must be understood in that context. If we can actually blame God for our sin, then how can we be held responsible. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.

The Greek word ἀρχηγός appears four times in the NT (Acts 3:15; 5:31; Heb. 2:10; 12:2). Twice it is rendered Prince and twice it is rendered author. Nowhere in Scripture is it actually said that God is NOT the primary cause of sin. When we say that God is not the author of sin, we intend to convey the meaning that sin does not have it's root in God. It's root is outside of God, located someplace else. When we introduce musterion, we intend to acknowledge our limitations in understanding and recognize that God mysteriously brought about sin, located outside Himself, in a way that we are simply not capable of fully comprehending. We understand that God must have had something to do with sin's existence because nothing exists outside of His sovereign control. However, we also understand that God Himself does not tempt anyone and therefore we understand that great care is required when discussing and thinking about these matters.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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Ed

Ed, that's the whole point. If Judas had to do what God willed him to do, then he cannot be responsible for his actions or behavior. James K, John Piper, and others of us believe that God can and does control sinners without resorting to fatalism.

You keep making accusations and comments about things that neither James K or I are saying.

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Quote:If Judas had to do

Quote:
If Judas had to do what God willed him to do, then he cannot be responsible for his actions or behavior.
I am desperately trying to stay out of this (even though I think there is a lot of confusion being spread), but I must ask why not?

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terminology vs argument

James K wrote:
Caleb S wrote:
James K wrote:
I will sum up this whole argument.

Things we all agree on:

1. God is sovereign
2. God's sovereignty includes power over all of His creation
3. God is in absolute control
4. Nothing can exist outside of God's control
5. God knows all thing, actual and possible, including every thought and desire of man
6. Sin did not thwart God
7. Sin did not call into question God's being

Things we do not all agree on:

1. How God controls all things
2. How God can be/not be the author of sin

I hope we can move past some of the childishness that is thrown around so lightly.


Concerning #4: If you agree that nothing can exist outside of God's control, then upon what grounds can you hold to libertarian freedom. Libertarian freedom is by definition uncaused, which means that it is outside of God's control. You may counter by saying that control and cause are two different things. And I would respond that you are speaking of "existence" in which causality is a massive component. Does the will of man exist, of itself, or autonomously; or does it exist dependently in which it needs a cause for its existence? If God is that cause, then how can man will contrary to his own existence? His will cannot be otherwise than what it is, which is what God has caused it to be if you do hold to #4.

I often run into this exquisite blind spot on the part of libertarian free will advocates.

The funny thing about categories is when people don't fit in them. I have not been advocating libertarian free will. Methinks you have me confused with Jay C.


Then you are clearly in error when you write that these are things that are agreed upon by all. You state, "Things we all agree on." Apparently, according to your own admission, Jay C does not agree upon this point.

Furthermore, you do not agree; nor have you actually dealt with the "content" of what I wrote. Yes, you can distinguish yourself from the point of libertarian freedom, but then you cannot distinguish yourself from the argument made. You can dodge the term, but you cannot dodge the argument. Upon what grounds, then, do you disagree with compatibilism at all if you agree that "Nothing can exist outside of God's control". There is no need to even deal with Genesis 3 or Acts 4, for you already agree with Compatibilism, but at the same time you disagree (self-contradiction). And again, focusing upon the terminology while ignoring the argument is yet another dodge.

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Jay C. wrote: Ed, that's the

Jay C. wrote:
Ed, that's the whole point. If Judas had to do what God willed him to do, then he cannot be responsible for his actions or behavior. James K, John Piper, and others of us believe that God can and does control sinners without resorting to fatalism.

You keep making accusations and comments about things that neither James K or I are saying.


Who in the world is resorting to fatalism? (straw man)

Fatalism: This is both impersonal, and it is a view where one's actions are not necessary, for they will not affect the future in any way.

Compatibilism: This affirms both God's absolute sovereignty over all things, and it affirms man's actions, wills, and responsibility.

Even at a casual glance one can see that Compatibilism is neither "impersonal"; nor does compatibilism exclude the means from the end. Human actions are very important in compatibilism. One's actions clearly affect future outcomes because the means are included in the ends, as both are ordained. Calling compatibilism "fatalism" is a very poor straw man. It is easy to see why people fail to distinguish, for when one sees any kind of determinism period, then knee jerk-reaction is to cry fatalism. However, this completely ignores the clear lines of distinction between the two by focusing on only one point of similarity. Further, it is also easy for a libertarian free will advocate to continually beg the question of libertarian free will, even while defining another view. If libertarian freedom is lost, then it is assumed that there is no will at all, but this is patently not true. The reason for this is that compatibilism advocates another view of the will that is "compatible" with God's sovereignty over all things. All of that was simply meant to support the point of "straw man".

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Jay C. wrote: Ed, that's the

Jay C. wrote:
Ed, that's the whole point. If Judas had to do what God willed him to do, then he cannot be responsible for his actions or behavior. James K, John Piper, and others of us believe that God can and does control sinners without resorting to fatalism.

You keep making accusations and comments about things that neither James K or I are saying.

At this time I will make a plea for specifics. Anytime anyone accuses someone else of "making accusations," I think it proper to point to the exact quote so that it can be addressed. This should apply to all of us. Otherwise, I am assigned to the world of the befuddled when I read statements like this. And in the world of the befuddled, taxes are higher, gas prices are higher and there are no books. Smile It is almost like purgatory.

James and Jay, much of my responses and challenges deal with the logical conclisions of your argument or reasoning, stated or not. So if you can grant that, perhaps we can make this a tad more fruitful, which is the ultimate goal I think.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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@Caleb

Actually, Caleb, I do agree with everything on James K's list (which you quoted in post #200). Sorry to take the wind out of your sails.

You're right - fatalism isn't the term I should have used. I am referring to Determinism, not fatalism.

Finally, someone (can't find the post now) made a post last night asking about something that they said LFW advocates have never been able to adequately answer. I would like that person to read http://sharperiron.org/comment/40706#comment-40706 ]Post #171 and let me know if that is helpful in dealing with their objections.

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James K wrote:Greg, Paul was

James K wrote:
Greg, Paul was not addressing my question in Romans 9.

Yes he was. He was addressing the exact question of why God can hold anyone responsible if he has created them to sin as he did with Pharoah.

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@Ed

Since you asked for specifics on accusations...

Quote:
#001 - Unless you are a consistent Calvinist, I will show that God is frustrated in your view. You just refuse to admit it.

#012 - In your view, sin entered the world apart from God's control. If God could have stopped it from happening and He did not, then you are no better off. You end up with a God who is not only not sovereign, but not omnipotent either. At the end of the day, even in your view of downgraded sovereignty, God is still just as culpable for sin as in the Calvinist scheme. However, the difference is that in the Calvinist scheme, nothing is outside of God's control. Not even sin.

#014 - James, if there is any abstruseness on my part regarding your view, whose fault is that? You seem to dance ever so slowly around what it is you believe. You continue to offer assaults on how things are not without providing any hint of how you think they are.

#023 - James, I would like to see your response to my comments around the efficacy of God's decree and cause. Please respond. Sooner or later, you have to start defending something, otherwise I am going to conclude you don't like how anyone positions the fall but you don't have a position of your own.

#088 - You nor Jay C have provided not one viable alternative that does not deform God by downgrading His knowledge and sovereignty.

Larry - I understand you trying to stay out of this thread; I thought that the discussion had ended but now it looks like that was just a lull in the action. Two posts that may answer your question (at #199) are http://sharperiron.org/comment/39990#comment-39990 ]#28 and http://sharperiron.org/comment/40075#comment-40075 ]#53

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descriptive vs prescriptive (pt 1 of 2)

James K wrote:
Caleb S wrote:
James K wrote:
Ed, sadly you never answered that question and still did not answer that question when given yet another opportunity. This is the problem with being learned in systematic theology as priority over scripture. You know the talking points but not how to actually answer.

You know very well what I have affirmed. What you accuse me of is sheer nonsense and demonstrates you are left to attacking me personally rather than answer my question.

I will further point out again to you that you are arguing for compatibilism, not calvinism. There are plenty of calvinists who would call you arminian.


James, he did answer the question. Perhaps you could actually deal with the issue of Acts 4, that Ed raised, instead of dodging it.

Caleb, Acts 4 is not Gen 3. Ed did not answer anything unless your definition of answer is bringing up unrelated passages.

Let me restate yet again.

We are told by compatibilists that God is the first cause and yet NOT the author of sin. No attempt is made to reconcile this. It is just affirmed by the WCF. Usually that is all calvinists need, but I am not all that impressed with it, so I will go back to scripture for truth. I don't believe God waiting post reformation for His truth to be known.

If sin is going against God's will, then Adam sinned. Well sort of. Because in the compatibilist construct Adam was doing EXACTLY what God wanted him to do.

The compatibilist is left with the additional difficulty of explaining how sin can really even be sin now. Because in the compatibilist construct:

1. Adam was created very good.
2. Adam had 2 opposite wills to obey.
3. Adam's failure would bring death and a curse upon everyone.
4. God used uneven weights and balances, something we know God hates.

This is EXACTLY why compatibilists opt for mystery.

Now, my question is this:

How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God?

Ed, Caleb, and others, if you think you answered this question, point me to the post and I will look it up. Otherwise, stop saying you answered it in so many ways with all this scripture.


Yes, Acts 4 is not Genesis 3! We are completely agreed on that point, and it was never disputed. However, it would be a complete error to say that Acts 4 does not deal with the issue that you raised concerning Genesis 3. We must get past hyper-superficial points (like Gen3 and Acts4 being different) and deal with the content of the posts. Therefore, your point here is a complete red herring. That you call it unrelated does not make it unrelated. Further, others have made arguments that clearly make it related. I will repeat one of those arguments in this post. Will you ignore it again is the question?

"We are told by compatibilists that God is the first cause and yet NOT the author of sin. No attempt is made to reconcile this." This is a flat out lie. Compatibilists, in this thread, have been continually making arguments from Acts 4 and sinful acts being predestined. They have been making arguments concerning the nature of human freedom that in turn affects how responsibility is viewed. They have been making arguments from God's providence (my post) that God's causality is utterly unavoidable ("This is the day that the LORD has made . . ."). They have been making distinctions between different types of causality. Etc. To say that no attempt has been made to reconcile this is to lie to yourself and others, and this is very clearly unChristian.

"It is just affirmed by the WCF." This is a hasty-generalization. I have not affirmed the WCF; nor has that ever been a point of my argument. This is too broad of a brush that you are using.

"I don't believe God waiting post reformation for His truth to be known." This is a historical anachronism, an error in time type of argument. You are assuming that Scripture, which clearly predates the reformation, is not advocating the truth that compatibilists have been pointing out. Perhaps you could go to Isaiah 10 and deal with the Hiphil participles where God is describing the king of Assyria as a tool in His hand, and then in the same passage God condemns the king for the pride in his heart. God Himself holds the king responsible for what God caused him to do. Since, the book of Isaiah predates the reformation by hundreds of years, then your historical anachronism is seen.

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descriptive vs prescriptive (pt 2 of 2)

(this is a continuation of post #205)

"If sin is going against God's will, then Adam sinned. Well sort of. Because in the compatibilist construct Adam was doing EXACTLY what God wanted him to do." The failure here is to distinguish between the descriptive and prescriptive will of God. This is something that Arminians themselves must do, or their own system falls to the ground. This is part of the reason for my post on the verse that says "God is not willing that any should perish". If God's will is that none, without exception at any point in human history, are to perish; then why do people perish? We are told that God is omnipotent; we see in Scripture that none can thwart God's hand. "I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)" So we are faced with a similar issue. Some will affirm that God wills in a higher way that people are given freedom from Him; therefore, this "will" is higher than His will to save all. So, God's will is ultimately not thwarted. Piper's article, "Are There Two Wills In God," is a prime example of how one deals with this issue. What I just mentioned was the Arminian solution to the problem. The Calvinist can respond in at least two ways. In this thread we have see how the universality of the word "any" can be called into question. This is one solution. The other is that the Calvinist can do the exact same thing that the Arminian did. He can posit that God's will to be glorified is higher than His will that none should perish. Personally, I prefer the language of competing desires, rather than two wills. However, the point communicated is the same. However, you will most certainly say that this issue is not the same. No one ever said that it was the same in every detail. However, the similarity of thought and the principles established are parallel. So then, how does God related to sin? Certainly, it is true that God is against sin. This is what many call the prescriptive will of God. He commands men to not do a great many different things. However, even the non-Calvinist has to concede that God permitted Satan to do all the things that he did to Job. God, by permission, in the non-Calvinist view, willed that Job would be tempted by Satan, by his flesh in the exceedingly horrific situation, by the loss of his family and possessions. So God, even on the non-Calvinist view both willed in a prescriptive sense that Job should not sin, but He also willed in a descriptive sense that Satan would cause so much havoc in Job's life leading to temptation after temptation. Further, God knew infallibly that this was to be the result of His permission. This is the same distinction that Calvinists make, when they say that God will's righteously what men do wickedly. They are affirming that God is against sin in a prescriptive sense, but has ordained that sin be in a descriptive sense. There is no contradiction. Even non-Calvinists are forced (unless becoming Open Theists) to concede the point. Therefore, the opening quote of the paragraph fails to make a very necessary distinction. For further argument on this point, I would recommend reading John Piper's article already mentioned in this paragraph.

"1. Adam was created very good.
2. Adam had 2 opposite wills to obey.
3. Adam's failure would bring death and a curse upon everyone.
4. God used uneven weights and balances, something we know God hates
." Perhaps you could actually quote compatibilists on this little point by point, so that you are not creating a straw man. Where do compatibilists say these things? What post in this thread is this in? Or what book, author, page # are you getting point #2 from? Further, what exegetical support are you providing to (probably) assume that the "very good" was an ethical goodness rather than another form?

"How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God?" Again, this is why Acts 4 keeps getting brought up and subsequently ignored. In Acts 4 we see these words.

Quote:
For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.
(Act 4:27-28)
One can see that individuals are mentioned: Herod, Pontius Pilate. We can see other people involved: Gentiles and the people of Israel. We can see that this group of responsible individuals were gather together against Jesus. We know from many different accounts of the Crucifixion that these people were involved in it. We can also see that these responsible people, according to the text, did exactly what "Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place." Please note the aorist active infinitive at the beginning of verse 28: "to do". This means that their doing was predestined by God to take place. This is what the text is saying. They could not have done otherwise, for they were "predestined" "to do". Again, the text assumes that they were responsible people. Therefore, we can ask the exact same question that you have asked. How did Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel sin when they did the sovereign will of God? Will you continue to ignore the point that people keep bringing up to you? Will you deny Scripture and accuse Scripture of saying that Scripture makes people not responsible or that they did not sin because of their deeds were being ordained? How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God? We respond, who are you to say against Scripture that Adam was not sinning even though he did the sovereign will of God (in the descriptive sense)? Why must you fight against the Word of God on this point and ignore post after post showing the relevance of Acts 4 with Gen 3?

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Sailing!

Jay C. wrote:
Actually, Caleb, I do agree with everything on James K's list (which you quoted in post #200). Sorry to take the wind out of your sails.

You're right - fatalism isn't the term I should have used. I am referring to Determinism, not fatalism.

Finally, someone (can't find the post now) made a post last night asking about something that they said LFW advocates have never been able to adequately answer. I would like that person to read http://sharperiron.org/comment/40706#comment-40706 ]Post #171 and let me know if that is helpful in dealing with their objections.


Saying that you agree with the point and dealing with the argument made against libertarian freedom are two different things. The wind is still blowing with a mighty gale!

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Romans 9

edingess wrote:
If we can actually blame God for our sin, then how can we be held responsible. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.
Which is exactly the point that Paul refutes in Romans 9:19-21

[quote=NKJV ][sup ]19[/sup ] You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” [sup ]20[/sup ] But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” [sup ]21[/sup ] Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Notice Paul doesn't say that he is being misunderstood. He affirms that God is sovereign and man is responsible.

edit - just noticed that Greg provided the same response in post #203

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JohnBrian][quote=edingess

JohnBrian ][quote=edingess wrote:
If we can actually blame God for our sin, then how can we be held responsible. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.
Which is exactly the point that Paul refutes in Romans 9:19-21

NKJV wrote:
[sup ]19[/sup ] You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” [sup ]20[/sup ] But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” [sup ]21[/sup ] Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Notice Paul doesn't say that he is being misunderstood. He affirms that God is sovereign and man is responsible.

edit - just noticed that Greg provided the same response in post #203

Yes. It seems that it matters not how many times we point to Paul's argument in Romans 9, it falls on deaf ears. The basis for rejecting sovereignty is no different than the basis for rejection creation ex nihilo. Men cannot rationalize it within their own rules (self-authority) and so they reject it. The truth is that we can no more explain God's sovereignty and human responsiblity than we can explain how God could take nothing and make everything. It is a mystery how God could do such a thing. So too, it is a mystery how God is absolutely and perfectly sovereign and man is completely responsible. We humbly accept Paul's argument. The dangerous thing in my mind is that Paul warns against impugning God as a result of His sovereignty. But the Arminian blazes right past that warning and does it anyhow.

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Greg Long wrote: James K

Greg Long wrote:
James K wrote:
Greg, Paul was not addressing my question in Romans 9.

Yes he was. He was addressing the exact question of why God can hold anyone responsible if he has created them to sin as he did with Pharoah.

Greg, you apparently don't understand my question if you still think this is what I am asking even after I told you it wasn't. Go back and reread what I actually asked.

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edingess wrote: James and

edingess wrote:

James and Jay, much of my responses and challenges deal with the logical conclisions of your argument or reasoning, stated or not. So if you can grant that, perhaps we can make this a tad more fruitful, which is the ultimate goal I think.

I keep coming back to this Ed. By your own admission, logic cannot solve the problem created by compatibilism. Why is logic so supreme then in trying to rule out something not your view?

You want logic but then don't want logic.

Further, your own "logical conclusions" are not infallible.

So logic can't win, and human logic isn't perfect. Yet I am supposed to just accept a position based in this infallible, failed logic, which cause a blight on God's character? I think not.

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edingess wrote: You fail to

edingess wrote:
You fail to make good on your indictment of compatibilists sir. You impugn us for special pleading (musterion) and yet when we point to Judas, somehow that is different. It could not be more obvious that Judas was sinning by betraying Christ and yet at the very same time in that sinful act, he was doing exactly what God had planned he would do.

If God is perfectly controlling everything as you say He is. Everything INCLUDES sin! Does it not? Answer that question, James. If God is not in perfect control of sin, then He is NOT in perfect control of everything.

I grow weary of writing term papers in answer to your charges only to have you ignore them, refuse to interact with them, reject any challenge to articulate an alternative, and then accuse me of not answering your question.

God is able to be the primary cause of sin without also being the immediate cause or author of sin. To be VERY clear, the Scripture used to support that idea that God cannot be the primary cause of sin does not assert any such thing. Exegetically, James 1:13 does not teach that God is not the primary cause of sin. What does it assert? In James 1:13 it is revealed to us that God cannot be tempted with evil. Secondly, it is revealed to us that God does not actually engage in tempting man to sin Himself. God Himself does not actually engage in the immediate act of tempting man to evil. That is far different from saying that God is not the primary cause of sin, being God, the primary cause of all that has come to be. So we can safely say that God is not the tempter in the case of sin. The real issue James is getting at is a view that may move toward a fatalistic attitude toward the nomos. Hence, a kind of antinomianism seems clearly to emerge in James. James 1:13 must be understood in that context. If we can actually blame God for our sin, then how can we be held responsible. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.

The Greek word ἀρχηγός appears four times in the NT (Acts 3:15; 5:31; Heb. 2:10; 12:2). Twice it is rendered Prince and twice it is rendered author. Nowhere in Scripture is it actually said that God is NOT the primary cause of sin. When we say that God is not the author of sin, we intend to convey the meaning that sin does not have it's root in God. It's root is outside of God, located someplace else. When we introduce musterion, we intend to acknowledge our limitations in understanding and recognize that God mysteriously brought about sin, located outside Himself, in a way that we are simply not capable of fully comprehending. We understand that God must have had something to do with sin's existence because nothing exists outside of His sovereign control. However, we also understand that God Himself does not tempt anyone and therefore we understand that great care is required when discussing and thinking about these matters.

No matter how simple I ask the question, I just can't get an answer. You are dancing all around it but won't actually answer it. Asking questions is not answering my question. All this does is confirm to me that even the best and brightest compatibilists simply throw their hands up and say they don't know (just like RC Sproul SR said). Tom Schreiner gets the problem and has admitted their are real problems. I know I am not misrepresenting anything unless either you or Caleb would also want to call their calvinist credentials into question,

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Caleb, to be fair to you, I

Caleb, to be fair to you, I have not directly dealt with a lot of what you are saying because it appears you haven't read through what has been discussed.

For example:

Quote:
Therefore, your point here is a complete red herring.

Honestly, can we not opt for such statements? My point was not the big revelation that Gen 3 is a different part of the Bible than Acts 4. I am arguing content as well.

Quote:
"We are told by compatibilists that God is the first cause and yet NOT the author of sin. No attempt is made to reconcile this." This is a flat out lie. Compatibilists, in this thread, have been continually making arguments from Acts 4 and sinful acts being predestined. They have been making arguments concerning the nature of human freedom that in turn affects how responsibility is viewed. They have been making arguments from God's providence (my post) that God's causality is utterly unavoidable ("This is the day that the LORD has made . . ."). They have been making distinctions between different types of causality. Etc. To say that no attempt has been made to reconcile this is to lie to yourself and others, and this is very clearly unChristian.

It isn't a lie Caleb. Saying that kind of stuff is popular with calvinist fanboys, but let's just back off the lie charge. It is reality. I have offered quotes of well known compatibilists and it has been admitted by others on this thread that there is no reconciliation. It is a mystery and a truth they say that just has to be believed. Maybe you are that one compatibilist who has it all figured out and could then explain it to RC Sproul SR and Tom Schreiner.

Quote:
This is a hasty-generalization. I have not affirmed the WCF; nor has that ever been a point of my argument. This is too broad of a brush that you are using.

I never said anything about you and the WCF. Again, saying stuff like this makes me think you aren't really reading this thread and are sniping comments.

Quote:
"I don't believe God waiting post reformation for His truth to be known." This is a historical anachronism, an error in time type of argument. You are assuming that Scripture, which clearly predates the reformation, is not advocating the truth that compatibilists have been pointing out. Perhaps you could go to Isaiah 10 and deal with the Hiphil participles where God is describing the king of Assyria as a tool in His hand, and then in the same passage God condemns the king for the pride in his heart. God Himself holds the king responsible for what God caused him to do. Since, the book of Isaiah predates the reformation by hundreds of years, then your historical anachronism is seen.

Wow, I literally laughed when I read this one. Do you know who brought the supersmart WCF divines into this discussion as proof of truth? I will only offer the hint that it wasn't me.

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Well, James, we have

Well, James, we have addressed your questions multiple times from multiple people using multiple passages of Scripture. Just because you are unsatisfied with our answers does not mean we haven't answered. You refuse to explain the specific passages of Scripture we bring up and just dismiss them out of hand. "Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says." [url ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y

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Quote: Larry - I understand

Quote:
Larry - I understand you trying to stay out of this thread; I thought that the discussion had ended but now it looks like that was just a lull in the action. Two posts that may answer your question (at #199) are #28 and #53
Thanks Jay, but I am not sure that answers my question. They seem simply to restate the assertion, that mankind cannot be held responsible unless they are able. I am wondering why that is the case?

To cut to the chase, here's what I believe the Bible teaches: Rom 8:7-8 seem clear that unsaved man is "unable to subject itself to the law of God" and "cannot please God." Those are, to the best of my understanding, words concerning ability.

Yet we agree, I think, that the unsaved man is responsible for his sin, and in fact will be judged for it and consigned to eternal damnation for it. So the Scripture seems to make clear that a person who is unable is still responsible and will be punished accordingly.

How else do we interpret that?

The reason it is a mystery is because we cannot understand how man is both unable and responsible to God. And God seems satisfied to leave it that way. I think God declares that man is both unable and responsible, and we should leave at that, rather than trying to force some logical conclusion on it that contradicts what God has revealed.

Additionally, I think using Adam as a paradigm for the current state of affairs is misguided. Whatever we might say about Adam and his situation, it bears no real relevance concerning how things work today to anyone but Pelagians. We are all affected and infected with Adam's sin. Therefore we are all sinners, and the Bible seems to clearly say that as sinners we are unable to please God and yet still held responsible for it.

To the larger point of sovereignty, the will of God, and the fall of Adam, James has tried to make the point that Adam disobeyed one will of God while obeying another.

First, I think that confuses "will" by a common definition that doesn't adequately make distinctions between the moral will of God (his precepts that we are to obey) and the decreed will of God (what God has decreed will happen). This distinction arises out of the biblical data regarding the will or decree of God.

Second, I don't think the decreed or sovereign will of God is something we obey. It is not a precept but a decree. It is what happens.

Third, unless James want to affirm that there is something outside of God's sovereign will, then either Adam was inside the will of God when he sinned, or Adam was outside the sovereign will of God when he sinned. The former has significant problems with some people's logical constructs (such as we are seeing here). The objections, as we have seen, are not really based on Scripture. There has been very little of that. There has been only a lot of logic.

The latter, however, seems to have significant problems with God's revelation, such as when he declares that he always accomplishes his will and no one can stop it, he decrees and no one can stop it, he does whatever he pleases, etc.

In the end, it seems to me like people are falling all over themselves trying to defend God from something he didn't seem compelled to defend himself from. I think God could have "cleared it up," but he didn't. James says this contradicts what God has revealed about himself. Yet such a statement requires contradictory revelation from God, and I don't think that to be the case. Why isn't it good enough for us to affirm that (1) God decrees all things whatsoever comes to pass because God said he did, and (2) man is absolutely responsible for his sinfulness because God said he was?

James asks, If nothing happens apart from God's will, and Adam's sin was in line with God's will, why was Adam's sin wrong? In other words, if Adam was simply doing what God willed for him to do, why is Adam wrong to do God's will?

This seems a strange question, almost too simple. It was wrong because God said it was wrong. I am not sure how that is confusing or questionable. God said "Don't." Adam "did." He disobeyed God, and that is wrong.

The question of why it is wrong if it is God's will goes directly to Romans 9. I am totally baffled as to why James says this doesn't answer his question. Romans 9 specifically addresses the one who does wrong while doing what God has decreed. The answer is that God, as the potter, has the right to do with his clay as he desires. The clay does not have the prerogative to talk back. God does not feel compelled to go any farther.

James asks, How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God?

This is simply a variation on the previous question. And the answer is the same: God gave a command and Adam disobeyed it.

The question is, "Is God sovereign over all things or not?"

Did God have no will regarding Adam's sin? That, to me, seems the only way that James can argue whatever it is he is arguing (though it isn't entirely clear; honestly, it seems so all over the ballpark I am not sure what he is trying to say).

It seems inconceivable that God had no will regarding Adam's sin. Does anyone here want to argue that position?

If God did have some will, it was either that Adam sin (in which case his sovereign will was accomplished) or that Adam did not sin (in which case God's sovereign will isn't really sovereign at all). Is there a fourth option here?

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cont Quote: Piper's article,

cont

Quote:
Piper's article, "Are There Two Wills In God," is a prime example of how one deals with this issue.

I have read the article and was quite familiar with it. I have already stated and will do so again: Piper is not a compatibilist. If you believe what Piper believes, you would not be arguing for compatibilism. I thought it was obvious, but I am arguing against compatibilism.

Quote:
1. Adam was created very good.
2. Adam had 2 opposite wills to obey.
3. Adam's failure would bring death and a curse upon everyone.
4. God used uneven weights and balances, something we know God hates." Perhaps you could actually quote compatibilists on this little point by point, so that you are not creating a straw man. Where do compatibilists say these things? What post in this thread is this in? Or what book, author, page # are you getting point #2 from? Further, what exegetical support are you providing to (probably) assume that the "very good" was an ethical goodness rather than another form?

"How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God?" Again, this is why Acts 4 keeps getting brought up and subsequently ignored. In Acts 4 we see these words.

Regarding the first point, I thought it was an accepted position because it is exactly what the creation account tells us. If there are compatibilists who deny this point, then it is in more trouble than I thought.

Regarding the second point, you have conceded this by referring to Piper's article as authoritative. Ed and others have repeatedly said that Adam acted exactly in line with God's sovereign will. At the same time, Adam was not to violate God's explicit command. Those wills are competing. Adam had to obey one and violate the other. Yet again I wonder how much you have been reading.

Regarding the third point, I think it is also agreed upon just like the first point.

Regarding the fourth point, I notice you didn't touch it. The crux of the issue - the character of God. Compatibilism causes a blight on God's character.

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And now Acts 4 with Gen

And now Acts 4 with Gen 3

Quote:
How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God? We respond, who are you to say against Scripture that Adam was not sinning even though he did the sovereign will of God (in the descriptive sense)? Why must you fight against the Word of God on this point and ignore post after post showing the relevance of Acts 4 with Gen 3?

Caleb, work on actually discussing this without saying things like

Quote:
Why must you fight against the Word of God on this point

Personally I find them amusing, but seriously, stop it. It reminds me of those overzealous first year bible students. No one is fighting against the Word of God. We are hopefully trying to understand it. Try to avoid the back handed insults. Like I said before, it is popular with calvinist fanboys, but not necessary.

Now to Acts 4 and why it isn't the same thing as Gen 3.

Quote:
“For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.

1. Herod, Pilate, Gentiles, and Israel were all against Christ.
2. In their own sin, they did exactly what God planned, the death of Christ.

Of that I think we all agree on.

The reason why Acts 4 is not the same thing as Gen 3 is because:

1. All the parties who came against Christ were already by nature evil and opposed to God.
2. Adam was not by nature evil but created very good.

Acts 4 is a demonstration that God's sovereignty extends over His entire creation and the works of evil men had a role in accomplishing God's work.

Adam did not have a sin nature and was not by nature evil and opposed to God.

My argument that Acts 4 is not the same as Gen 3 doesn't involve God's sovereignty over the events. I am not arguing against that. Adam did not know sin and was created very good. God didn't have to make Herod, Pilate, and the rest do something evil. They were already evil. Adam wasn't. Wicked people doing something wicked is hardly the same thing as a truly innocent man being forced to sin because of 2 competing wills, either of which violation would damn him and mankind.

To recap:

1. Those who hand in killing Christ were already by nature evil.
2. Adam was not by nature evil and in fact was good.

God would have had to do something to Adam in the compatibilist construct. The answer apparently from compatibilists is that God had 2 opposite wills for Adam to obey. This is unjust weights and balances and therefore causes the blight on God's character. Since revelation forbids any blight on God's character, compatibilism is false.

Since the issue under discussion is how sin came to exist, this is a major reason why the two are not related texts.

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Larry said: Quote: To cut to

Larry said:

Quote:
To cut to the chase, here's what I believe the Bible teaches: Rom 8:7-8 seem clear that unsaved man is "unable to subject itself to the law of God" and "cannot please God." Those are, to the best of my understanding, words concerning ability.

Yet we agree, I think, that the unsaved man is responsible for his sin, and in fact will be judged for it and consigned to eternal damnation for it. So the Scripture seems to make clear that a person who is unable is still responsible and will be punished accordingly.

How else do we interpret that?

The reason it is a mystery is because we cannot understand how man is both unable and responsible to God. And God seems satisfied to leave it that way. I think God declares that man is both unable and responsible, and we should leave at that, rather than trying to force some logical conclusion on it that contradicts what God has revealed.

Additionally, I think using Adam as a paradigm for the current state of affairs is misguided. Whatever we might say about Adam and his situation, it bears no real relevance concerning how things work today to anyone but Pelagians. We are all affected and infected with Adam's sin. Therefore we are all sinners, and the Bible seems to clearly say that as sinners we are unable to please God and yet still held responsible for it.

I agree with all of this. I want to also be clear that I do not think Adam should be used as a paradigm for the current state of affairs either. I am talking about the origin of sin, not its continued effect on decisions by Adam's kiddos.

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James K wrote: And now Acts 4

James K wrote:
And now Acts 4 with Gen 3

Quote:
How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God? We respond, who are you to say against Scripture that Adam was not sinning even though he did the sovereign will of God (in the descriptive sense)? Why must you fight against the Word of God on this point and ignore post after post showing the relevance of Acts 4 with Gen 3?

Caleb, work on actually discussing this without saying things like

Quote:
Why must you fight against the Word of God on this point

Personally I find them amusing, but seriously, stop it. It reminds me of those overzealous first year bible students. No one is fighting against the Word of God. We are hopefully trying to understand it. Try to avoid the back handed insults. Like I said before, it is popular with calvinist fanboys, but not necessary.

Now to Acts 4 and why it isn't the same thing as Gen 3.

Quote:
“For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.

1. Herod, Pilate, Gentiles, and Israel were all against Christ.
2. In their own sin, they did exactly what God planned, the death of Christ.

Of that I think we all agree on.

The reason why Acts 4 is not the same thing as Gen 3 is because:

1. All the parties who came against Christ were already by nature evil and opposed to God.
2. Adam was not by nature evil but created very good.

Acts 4 is a demonstration that God's sovereignty extends over His entire creation and the works of evil men had a role in accomplishing God's work.

Adam did not have a sin nature and was not by nature evil and opposed to God.

My argument that Acts 4 is not the same as Gen 3 doesn't involve God's sovereignty over the events. I am not arguing against that. Adam did not know sin and was created very good. God didn't have to make Herod, Pilate, and the rest do something evil. They were already evil. Adam wasn't. Wicked people doing something wicked is hardly the same thing as a truly innocent man being forced to sin because of 2 competing wills, either of which violation would damn him and mankind.

To recap:

1. Those who hand in killing Christ were already by nature evil.
2. Adam was not by nature evil and in fact was good.

God would have had to do something to Adam in the compatibilist construct. The answer apparently from compatibilists is that God had 2 opposite wills for Adam to obey. This is unjust weights and balances and therefore causes the blight on God's character. Since revelation forbids any blight on God's character, compatibilism is false.

Since the issue under discussion is how sin came to exist, this is a major reason why the two are not related texts.

James, this does absolutely NOTHING to get your view off the hook. So it is okay for God to be involved in the sin of naturally evil men, but not Adam? How does your proof text stand up under that argument. It doesn't. James did not have Adam in mind when he wrote his letter. He had evil men in mind, like us.

How is it alright for God to take one role with Pilate and Judas and not alright for Him to take a similar role with Adam? What is the exegetical basis for such an idea?

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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Ed, 1. What is this proof

Ed,

1. What is this proof text you keep talking about? I assume you mean James 1:13. If it is, then the verse does teach that God cannot tempt with evil. How was Adam tempted then? By Satan? Okay, how was Satan tempted? Within himself? Okay, how did that happen if not because God wanted it to happen? Oh, so God did tempt. I follow.

2. God did not have to do anything for Pilate and the rest to do evil, even the greatest evil.

3. In your construct, God did have to do something for Adam to do something evil.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Romans 9:19-20 Quote: 19)You

Romans 9:19-20

Quote:
19)You will say to me, therefore, "Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?"

20) But who are you-anyone who talks back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"

Paul is talking about Adam in this section? That is certainly a novel view of Romans 9.

God did not make Adam evil, He made him very good.

Does God have a right to use people for His purposes? Absolutely. Sigh. No one is saying otherwise.

The question I am asking doesn't call into question God's rights, but what He actually did specifically with Adam and the origin of sin in the world.

So Greg and others, again, it doesn't address my question.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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James K wrote: I agree with

James K wrote:
I agree with all of this. I want to also be clear that I do not think Adam should be used as a paradigm for the current state of affairs either. I am talking about the origin of sin, not its continued effect on decisions by Adam's kiddos.

I agree - this is why I've been dealing with Adam in this thread. We could substitute Satan as well - how did he fall from his state and become the enemy of God? - but the Bible doesn't say anything about that explicitly. It DOES talk about Adam, though, as being created by God and being 'very good' (pre-sin). I do not want to get into humanity after Adam becuase it's comparing apples to fighter planes.

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James K wrote: Ed, 1. What is

James K wrote:
Ed,

1. What is this proof text you keep talking about? I assume you mean James 1:13. If it is, then the verse does teach that God cannot tempt with evil. How was Adam tempted then? By Satan? Okay, how was Satan tempted? Within himself? Okay, how did that happen if not because God wanted it to happen? Oh, so God did tempt. I follow.

2. God did not have to do anything for Pilate and the rest to do evil, even the greatest evil.

3. In your construct, God did have to do something for Adam to do something evil.

When you solve the problem of how Satan came to sin, let me know. I am a Th.D and fear to tread upon such ground for fear my arrogant speculations will carry me into perverse thinking. If God can bring about the betrayal of Judas and He can harden Pharoah's heart without tempting man to sin, surely He can accomplish His plan which involved the fall of angels and man without being the tempter to evil. You don't address the problem at all. You simply continue to assert the compatibilist's view is wrong while seemingly holding to it yourself.

I have answered the question how man is responsible for his sin even though God is the primary cause of it. Pharaoh sinned against God of his own accord, but he was raised up for this very purpose. God punished him and his country for doing exactly what God predetermined he would do. Paul is charged with the same thing you charge me. I reply with Paul's very same reply: Who are you to ripost against God? May it never be that we think this way. How can God hold Pharaoh accountable engaging in the very rebellion God ordained he would engage in? Because He is God.

Would you mind if I ask you to state clearly what you believe about how sin first entered the world and what God was doing when that happened? Where did the idea of sin come from? How was sin made possible? I seek progress and not endless debate.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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The snip and run misrepresentation

James K wrote:
Caleb, to be fair to you, I have not directly dealt with a lot of what you are saying because it appears you haven't read through what has been discussed.

For example:

Quote:
Therefore, your point here is a complete red herring.

Honestly, can we not opt for such statements? My point was not the big revelation that Gen 3 is a different part of the Bible than Acts 4. I am arguing content as well.


James, to be fair to you, I have not directly dealt with a lot of what you are saying in this post because it appears you haven't read through what has been discussed. For example, let us look at your example. In your example you are quoting me. However, you are only quoting my statement of your logical facially, and you are omitting all the information that deals with the "why" of your logical fallacy. This allows you to misrepresent me by stating, "the big revelation that Gen 3 is a different part of the Bible than Acts 4." This is a straw man James. I never made an argument about the location; that is your fallacious imputation into me. Had you actually fully quoted me, it would have helped you to keep with my actual words. I actually wrote, "Yes, Acts 4 is not Genesis 3!" This was a near quotation of your own words. My point is that though you can point to the dissimilarities between the two passages, which none deny, you are not dealing with the principles established which always apply to the questions that you raise. For instance, my entire last paragraph in post #206 is applying those principles to a question. I tried to caution you against your propensity toward being superficial in your distinctions, but you plowed right along instead oblivious to the warning. Because you have simply resorted to a snip and run misrepresentation, your comments here are a straw man once again.

James K wrote:
Quote:
"We are told by compatibilists that God is the first cause and yet NOT the author of sin. No attempt is made to reconcile this." This is a flat out lie. Compatibilists, in this thread, have been continually making arguments from Acts 4 and sinful acts being predestined. They have been making arguments concerning the nature of human freedom that in turn affects how responsibility is viewed. They have been making arguments from God's providence (my post) that God's causality is utterly unavoidable ("This is the day that the LORD has made . . ."). They have been making distinctions between different types of causality. Etc. To say that no attempt has been made to reconcile this is to lie to yourself and others, and this is very clearly unChristian.

It isn't a lie Caleb. Saying that kind of stuff is popular with calvinist fanboys, but let's just back off the lie charge. It is reality. I have offered quotes of well known compatibilists and it has been admitted by others on this thread that there is no reconciliation. It is a mystery and a truth they say that just has to be believed. Maybe you are that one compatibilist who has it all figured out and could then explain it to RC Sproul SR and Tom Schreiner.

Post #112 is an example of my point concerning God's providence. Charlie's post #175 and post #128 were dealing with the nature of human freedom. These are the post #'s which support where people have been making other arguments that lessen the mystery. This means that arguments have been getting made that seek to reconcile this. I did not mention the issue of mystery because it did not deal with your point which stated that "No attempt is made to reconcile this." Again, this is a lie. Reconciliation has been given to a great many different issues; full, complete, and utter reconciliation has not been given, for there is certainly an area of mystery. Using pejorative language like "calvinist fanboys" does not help you other than to poison the well. That you have given quotes of compatibilists who speak of mystery is not the same issue as no attempt being made to reconcile. This is a red herring. You are not dealing with the topic that I critiqued you of. Therefore, you are still lying while hiding under the red herring of others stating that there is mystery, but this is not the same as not offering any reconciliation. This is now the second time that you have been warned. Further, we have sought to deal with mystery in the form of Scriptural assertions. Namely, Scripture affirms both that God is sovereign even over sinful actions, and man is responsible for multiple references to Acts 4. This would be to offer reconciliation by means to direct Scriptural assertions; it is an appeal to one's ultimate authority being found in Scripture.

James K wrote:
Quote:
This is a hasty-generalization. I have not affirmed the WCF; nor has that ever been a point of my argument. This is too broad of a brush that you are using.

I never said anything about you and the WCF. Again, saying stuff like this makes me think you aren't really reading this thread and are sniping comments.

You stated "We are told by compatibilists that God is the first cause and yet NOT the author of sin. No attempt is made to reconcile this. It is just affirmed by the WCF." I am a compatibilist, and I never made an argument using the WCF. When you broad brushed compatibilists, you included me among them, and I was pointing out your hasty generalization. That you could not follow this very simple point leads me to wonder why you aren't really reading this thread (demonstrated directly above) and are sniping comments like you have done with your use of quotation from me in the opening. Please try to follow what people are saying.

James K wrote:
Quote:
"I don't believe God waiting post reformation for His truth to be known." This is a historical anachronism, an error in time type of argument. You are assuming that Scripture, which clearly predates the reformation, is not advocating the truth that compatibilists have been pointing out. Perhaps you could go to Isaiah 10 and deal with the Hiphil participles where God is describing the king of Assyria as a tool in His hand, and then in the same passage God condemns the king for the pride in his heart. God Himself holds the king responsible for what God caused him to do. Since, the book of Isaiah predates the reformation by hundreds of years, then your historical anachronism is seen.

Wow, I literally laughed when I read this one. Do you know who brought the supersmart WCF divines into this discussion as proof of truth? I will only offer the hint that it wasn't me.

So your response is to completely ignore the point that was made and to ridicule it. You also snipped the quote away from its context, where the fallacy mentioned at the beginning was supported by following argumentation. You completely snipped the following argumentation. Ridicule and turning a blind eye is not going to help you to deal with your historical anachronism ("post reformation") and the Hiphil participles in Isaiah 10. As Scripture predates the reformation and the WCF, then it can be seen that appeals to the WCF are not merely an appeal to a man-made confession; rather, it is an appeal to a confession that is backed by Scripture which predates it.

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Ed and Greg, I can only wish

Ed and Greg, I can only wish you two the best and most profitable ministry as you are no doubt very diligent in studying the Bible. Seriously, I would love to continue this. I am concerned I have spent too much of your time along with my own on this.

There is so much similarity in our beliefs. Some of these details are admittedly beyond our capacity to completely flesh out. I am content to leave it at that for now. I sincerely hope that through all this back and forth, you have had to think through more about your own beliefs as I have.

Caleb, I have no desire to interact with any of your posts. Think of that what you may. I wish you well also.

Thank you all for a thought provoking discussion.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Descriptive/Prescriptive rehash (pt1 of 2)

James K wrote:
cont

Quote:
Piper's article, "Are There Two Wills In God," is a prime example of how one deals with this issue.

I have read the article and was quite familiar with it. I have already stated and will do so again: Piper is not a compatibilist. If you believe what Piper believes, you would not be arguing for compatibilism. I thought it was obvious, but I am arguing against compatibilism.

Whether or not Piper is a compatibilist is beside the point; no one was arguing that Piper was a compatibilist. Nor does it follow that if one takes this distinction from Piper's article that therefore compatibilism is invalidated. That is a non-sequitur or a mere guilt by association fallacy. The conclusion of "you would not be arguing for compatibilism" does not follow from taking Piper's distinction here. Further, this betrays a failure to understand compatibilism. If compatibilism is what I outlined earlier, (Compatibilism: This affirms both God's absolute sovereignty over all things, and it affirms man's actions, wills, and responsibility.) then Piper is a compatibilist. Piper does disagree with Packer on the antinomy issue raised by Packer, but this is a side issue to compatibilism. This is a red herring. The point that was being made is that Scripture asserts both a decretive will and a prescriptive will regardless of whether or not one is a Calvinist or an Arminian. Unless you are willing to go the Open Theist rout, then you also have to affirm this. Again, lest it be missed, Scripture, unless demonstrated otherwise (since it has already been argued in the affirmative, yet omitted in your response), directly and explicitly argues for the reality of the prescriptive/descriptive distinction just mentioned. To argue against this is to argue against a biblical reality.

James K wrote:
Quote:
Perhaps you could actually quote compatibilists on this little point by point, so that you are not creating a straw man. Where do compatibilists say these things? What post in this thread is this in? Or what book, author, page # are you getting point #2 from? Further, what exegetical support are you providing to (probably) assume that the "very good" was an ethical goodness rather than another form?

"How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God?" Again, this is why Acts 4 keeps getting brought up and subsequently ignored. In Acts 4 we see these words.


Regarding the first point, I thought it was an accepted position because it is exactly what the creation account tells us. If there are compatibilists who deny this point, then it is in more trouble than I thought.

Regarding the second point, you have conceded this by referring to Piper's article as authoritative. Ed and others have repeatedly said that Adam acted exactly in line with God's sovereign will. At the same time, Adam was not to violate God's explicit command. Those wills are competing. Adam had to obey one and violate the other. Yet again I wonder how much you have been reading.

Regarding the third point, I think it is also agreed upon just like the first point.

Regarding the fourth point, I notice you didn't touch it. The crux of the issue - the character of God. Compatibilism causes a blight on God's character.


James, you (I am more than willing to assume) are a brother in Christ I dearly hope. I don't intend my points to be overly harsh, and I feel that sometimes they are, so I intend these counterpoints to be seen in a (hopefully) compassionate corrective manner.[/quote]

(1) In regards to creation being "good". No one will argue otherwise. The fact that creation was created good is beyond question. However, the meaning of "good" is something that needs to be proven, rather than assumed. In other words, you need to jump through exegetical hoops in order to validate taking "good" in an ethical or moral sense. Perhaps you didn't realize that. Please allow me to illustrate. If you take an ethical/moral view of "good" in the passage, then consistency will lead you into a direct contradiction in chapter two. God directly created Adam, and then God gives the announcement that it is not good for man to be alone. There we have it, with your view in place, an ethical/moral contradiction has taken place. Among many alternatives, I would suggest an alternative that sees "good" in relation to the propagation of life. In other words, "good" is when something is created that better accomplishes the production of life. Hence, it is not good that man should be alone. Again, this goes into a great deal of detail about the Hebrew terms in verse two. For further argumentation, please see the following PhD dissertation. {Keiser, Thomas A. “Genesis 1-11: Its Literary Coherence And Theological Message”. PhD Dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 2007.} I could continue along this line in great length, but that would sidetrack this discussion. The issue is not at all one of compatibilism being in danger; rather, it is the fact that one needs to do a little more exegetical homework before asserting/assuming an ethical/moral sense of "good" in Genesis 1-2. I was saying that you need to validate rather than simply assert.

(2) In regards to the two wills issue again. While I agree that I have conceded to the point by agreeing with Piper and Scripture on the issue, it is quite another to say that I agree with "your view" of the two wills. This was the reason for trying to get you to quote someone; I was trying to push you toward having a proper view of what people actually say. To say that "Adam had to obey one and violate the other" and again, "The answer apparently from compatibilists is that God had 2 opposite wills for Adam to obey," is to misunderstand the nature of what is being communicated. The key aspect of misunderstanding is that you are ascribing a prescriptive view to both; this is a misrepresentation. One is prescriptive; the other is descriptive. One concerns what Adam has been commanded; the other concerns what is to be. It appears that because you take them both in a prescriptive sense that you see a contradiction; however, this is only a contradiction birthed from a misunderstanding of the terms used. Further, the wills are not contradictory in the sense of a runner. He hates the pain associated with running; however, due to the fact that He desires to be healthy, he goes out and runs. Since this rather basic psychological illustration is quite descriptive of reality and is not contradictory, then one should not see a problem with the fact that God both commands men not to do what He has righteously willed must come about. Again, I must warn that this is not just a Calvinistic phenomena; it is an Arminian phenomena as well. In fact it is a biblical reality. I have already argued it from the example of Job in post #206 (see the 1st big paragraph), and the further appeal to Piper's article. To argue against this is to argue against a Biblical reality, and this means that to argue against it is to take an anti-biblical stance.

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Descriptive/Prescriptive rehash (pt2 of 2)

I'll add this as well, ". . . 2 competing wills, either of which violation would damn him and mankind". This is yet again another reason why this has been misunderstood. The language, "violation," again assumes a prescriptive sense upon both. There is no violation of existence; existence is just what is. While I see the words, "I have read the article and was quite familiar with it," I am not persuaded that you are familiar enough with it to give it a proper representation.

(3) Regarding point three, I actually agree; and I don't think that anyone will argue against it in this discussion.

(4) Yes, you are right that I did not touch it. The reason for not touching it is that it is a conclusion based upon premises 1-3, and I had already either questioned or invalidated two of those, so your fourth point did not follow, and I did not need to argue against it as it would be a non-sequitur (a conclusion that does not follow from the premises). You see the crux of the issue as being the character of God, and you believe that compatibilism produces a blight upon the character of God. In the following post, just after misunderstanding the two wills (as illustrated above) the following is stated: "This is unjust weights and balances and therefore causes the blight on God's character. Since revelation forbids any blight on God's character, compatibilism is false." Perhaps this would be true given your take on the two wills; however, that is not what is being communicated by Piper. Nor does it follow that it would invalidate compatibilism, for this is something that Scripture evidences as a biblical reality. Compatibilism affirms directly what Scripture affirms in Acts 4, Isaiah 10, and Job 42:2. I could also add Ephesians 1:11 and the verses already mentioned about God's providential sustaining. Many other verses could be mentioned. In short, the misunderstanding of the nature of the prescriptive/descriptive distinction does not invalidate a biblical reality.

Further, it seems exceedingly important to deal with a hidden premise in your posts. The hidden premise is that the objector is actually in a moral vantage point from which to critique God. The objector is the judge and god is the defendant. The reason for not capitalizing "god" is that this is no longer the God of the Bible. It is a straw man. To stand over god is to erect a straw man, for none stand over an ultimate God. God and His actions are the very definition of justice. Further, we have not been given how the biblical reality of the descriptive/prescriptive distinction is actually unjust weights and balances; it has only been asserted through misunderstanding.

The biblical reality is that God righteously ordains what men do wickedly and are held responsible for; this evidences the descriptive/prescriptive distinction, and it is just a restatement of what Scripture explicitly asserts from Acts 4. As the next post brings up Adam to a greater degree, more interaction will be given in that area. For now, this is all the time that is available.

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Needed Response

James K wrote:
Ed,

1. What is this proof text you keep talking about? I assume you mean James 1:13. If it is, then the verse does teach that God cannot tempt with evil. How was Adam tempted then? By Satan? Okay, how was Satan tempted? Within himself? Okay, how did that happen if not because God wanted it to happen? Oh, so God did tempt. I follow.

2. God did not have to do anything for Pilate and the rest to do evil, even the greatest evil.

3. In your construct, God did have to do something for Adam to do something evil.


This post needs some commenting. James 1:13 affirms the God cannot be tempted and that He tempts no one.

(1) Responding to point #1: A chain of rhetorical questions are asked that assumes somethings even in the asking of the questions. A chain is given going from Adam, back to Satan, back to within Satan, and then to God. It is even more interesting how distinctions are made in causality within the questions. Everything is external at the beginning, for Adam is tempted by an external agent named Satan. However, then the causal picture shifts; Satan is now tempted within. So then we have to ask if temptation is external or internal or both. We also have another problem; the Greek word ἐπείραζεν (Gen 22:1 BGT) is undeniably used of God in Genesis 22. God is "testing" Abraham. The same Greek word is used in our verse in James 1:13. Where we are told that God does not "tempt" πειράζει anyone. If temptation is viewed simply as external, then God's "testing" vs "tempting" may become a distinction without a difference. Yet, we have another verse after James 1:13; it is James 1:14. This speaks of temptation being that of a person's getting drawn by his/her own internal desires. Now then, we then run into a problem; according to the causality set up in the questions above, Adam is no longer being tempted by Satan because Satan is external to him. What I'm pushing for here is a little more nuance and clarity on what one means by "tempt". Is it external? Is it internal? If it is external, is it just testing? The reason for pushing on this term is that until it gets nailed down a little better, then it is very possible to equivocate on it. It becomes a morph term, able to take whatever arbitrary shape the objector wants it to be.

It is this problem that I'm seeing in what is assumed in the framing of the questions. This is especially true when the chain comes back to God. We see that statement, "God wanted it to happen," and we see this arbitrarily assumed to mean that God "tempts". I'm sorry, but I just can't make that kind of leap. First, as discussed in my previous postings, it is entirely impossible for you to avoid God wanting it to happen unless you are an Open Theist. You really only have two options that I know of. Either God wants it to happen via His permission (Arminian like position), or God wants it to happen via His decree (Calvinistic type of position). Either way, according to the arbitrary equivocation of "wanting" into "tempting", we are forced to accept that God is indeed tempting. The equivocation here leads to an argument, not against compatibilism specifically, but it then becomes an argument against Christian theism itself. It is a direct attack against the Bible, unless one is willing to go the Open Theist rout. However, I am calling into question the assumptions by which the questions are framed. We need to be more careful with how "tempt" is understood. I really don't think that it follows that just because God ordains all things to come to pass, that therefore one can equivocate this to mean that God tempts. That is a non-sequitur born from equivocation.

(2) Responding to point #2: This statement is flatly false. God had to create the universe and sustain it to that very point in history. God created and sustained creation, at least, knowing full well that His actions would inevitably lead to the crucifixion and the sin committed there. Therefore, He willed it (in the descriptive sense mentioned in previous postings). John Frame has a chapter, using different terms, devoted to this point in his response to Open Theism in "No Other God".

(3) Responding to point #3: Yes, God also had to create and sustain. I think that your distinction fails here because you are assuming that creation is autonomous in some sense (not needing of God), which is where I hit in responding to point #2. Further, the passing of time is irrelevant, since God knew the end from the beginning when He created, and He knew that the actualization of creation would inevitably result in the fall of Adam and in the crucifixion. In both of my responses to points #2 & #3, I only assumed God's certain knowledge; and still the problem getting critiqued still gets leveled. Therefore, the arguments that are being sent are against Biblical theism; they are not specific enough to only be leveled at compatibilism. Atheism is then being argued for, for I cannot call Open Theism or process theology an option.

Recap: In responding to this argument, I have pointed out the problem of equivocation. We just need to be more clear and consistent with the meaning of "tempt". I have also pointed out the irresponsible use of argument. Brandishing the sword of "the problem of evil" we have not seen an argument only against compatibilism, but we have seen a Christian attack his own faith to try to malign compatibilism. Please, may this not be the kind of tactics that we use.

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Bowing Out

Caleb, James K has bowed out of this discussion (see #226). If you want answers to your questions, you'll probably need to get them from older posts. I'm also going to bow out now, because I feel like:

1. I've committed too much time to this topic and
2. I think I've already said everything that I can say on the topic and
3. I don't think any further conversations about this are actually going to change anyone's mind or theology

I would commend one last article for all those who are still interested in pursuing it - I found it a few days ago and read it last night; it's excellent and thought provoking. The article is " http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/are-there-two-wills... ]Are There Two Wills in God " by John Piper.

Grace and Peace to all.

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Quick comment

Jay C. wrote:
Caleb, James K has bowed out of this discussion (see #226). If you want answers to your questions, you'll probably need to get them from older posts. I'm also going to bow out now, because I feel like:

1. I've committed too much time to this topic and
2. I think I've already said everything that I can say on the topic and
3. I don't think any further conversations about this are actually going to change anyone's mind or theology

I would commend one last article for all those who are still interested in pursuing it - I found it a few days ago and read it last night; it's excellent and thought provoking. The article is " http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/are-there-two-wills... ]Are There Two Wills in God " by John Piper.

Grace and Peace to all.


Jay,

Thanks for the link to the article. What I have been describing as "descriptive"/"prescriptive" is understood in different terms in the article, and I will provide a small quote from the article for further elucidation. I'm glad that you read it and found it thought provoking, and I appreciate your demeanor in the various discussions in both this thread and others.

from Are There Two Wills In God wrote:
These criticisms are not new. Jonathan Edwards wrote 250 years ago, "The Arminians ridicule the distinction between the secret and revealed will of God, or, more properly expressed, the distinction between the decree and the law of God; because we say he may decree one thing, and command another. And so, they argue, we hold a contrariety in God, as if one will of his contradicted another."

But in spite of these criticisms the distinction stands, not because of a logical or theological deduction, but because it is inescapable in the Scriptures. The most careful exegete writing in Pinnock's Case for Arminianism concedes the existence of two wills in God. I. Howard Marshall applies his exegetical gift to the Pastoral Epistles. Concerning 1 Timothy 2:4 he says,

To avoid all misconceptions it should be made clear at the outset that the fact that God wishes or wills that all people should be saved does not necessarily imply that all will respond to the gospel and be saved. We must certainly distinguish between what God would like to see happen and what he actually does will to happen, and both of these things can be spoken of as God's will. . .

Yes, I understand that James has bowed out; however, I find that I "must" continue to make comments both out of my loyalty to God and His word and out of love to those who might read this exchange of differing viewpoints.

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